How to find the magic in Marrakech

There’s a lot of magic in Marrakech. You’ll find it weaving through the mystical maze at the souks, and pouring from the waters of Oozoud falls.

The colours of the city will flash before your eyes, and the aromas of spice and leather will awaken your senses.

If you’re visiting Marrakech, get set to take a carpet ride into the world of the unknown – and if you’re looking for magic, here’s where to find it.

Jemaa el-Fnaa

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Jemaa el-Fnaa is the city’s largest trading square – and a popular meeting point for tourists and locals alike.

Here you’ll find over a hundred stalls selling an array of local delicacies, from Es Cargo to spicy lamb tagines, along with freshly squeezed juices, sweet pastries, nuts, figs and dates.

You’ll also find snake charmers, show monkeys, and if you’re lucky you’ll spot the illusive ‘street dentist’ pulling molars in the street.

The square is particularly breathtaking at night, as the atmosphere is electric.

Watch Arabic dancers moving to the beat of drums, as the light from hundreds of colourful lanterns flickers in the moonlight.

Although it’s enchanting, it’s also crowded – meaning you need to stay safe.

Be careful upon entering the square, as here you’ll find ladies offering henna tattoos. Keep your hands in your pockets or they’ll grab hold of you in a bid to ink your skin.

Steer clear of the snake charmers and monkeys or you’ll end up with one on your shoulder – and be demanded to cough up some cash.

Don’t let this put you off though, as Jemaa el-Fnaa is a wonderful place and will give you a true taste of traditional Marrakech.

If you do happen to get stung by a street trader, it’s easier to just pay them a small amount of money to avoid getting into unwanted bother.

The souks

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To lose your senses in a city of mystery, getting lost in one of the many souks should be at the top of your list.

The largest souk in Marrakech is at Jemaa el-Fnaa, which connects a honeycomb of alleyways leading into what feels like a parallel universe.

As you enter the souk, you’ll find everything from traditional Moroccan teapots and handmade ceramics, to magic lamps and Ali Baba dress robes.

It’s easy to get lost in the souk – and once you’re in, it may feel like there’s no way out.

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Items for sale here aren’t priced, so you’ll have to haggle.

To avoid getting your fingers burned, it’s a good idea to visit the Ensemble Artisanal before hand.

The Ensemble Artisanal is a fixed priced indoor market on the other side of Jemaa el-Fnaa. It’s only around 300m from the square – and hard to miss.

Look for the name in large letters above the large wooden door.

Inside, you’ll find all the items for sale at the souk, only there’s no haggling and everything has a price tag.

This should give you an idea of how much the items are worth, so you don’t up paying a small fortune for something that’s only worth pennies.

Oozoud Falls

After a couple of days in the city, you may need a break from Marrakech’s madness.

The busy streets, the crazy traffic, and the rush of adrenalin can be a lot to take in.

If you want some peace and quiet – Oozoud Falls is a must.

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Tucked away in the Atlas mountains a three hour drive from the city, you can hear the splash of Africa’s highest waterfall, along with the footsteps of wild monkeys who live in the surrounding trees.

As you embark up the mountain you can see the homes of the Berber villagers who live there.

The Berber tribe is scattered across North Africa and speak a minimum of nine languages including Arabic, French and English.

Berber villagers will greet you with a warm welcome, offering traditional tea in their small, rustic restaurants – mainly built from clay, mud and straw.

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As you head up the mountain path, you’ll find dozens of olive trees and wild monkeys who’ll sit on your shoulder in exchange for a couple of nuts.

Reaching the top, you’ll be blown away by the views. From here you can see the spectacular palace, home to the King of Morocco.

On the way back down the views are even more mesmerising. The breathtaking scene will stop you in time and trap you in a temporary paradise.

You’ll see a number of handmade, wooden boats – dressed in soft pastels and decorated in colourful flowers, rowed by villagers who’ll take you underneath the falls for photographs.

Trip advisor organise this trip for around £25 per person, but you can also arrange in the city of Marrakech with a local tour operator.

Majorelle Gardens

Marrakech is famous for its stunning mosaics, and Majorelle gardens is home to some beautiful artwork.

A little set back from the centre, probably around 30 minute walk from Jemaa el-Fnaa, you’ll find the gardens paying tribute to Yves Saint Laurent, who lived in Marrakech for a number of years.

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The garden is enchanted with splashes of royal blue and canary yellow, which created the setting for some of the designers most famous photo shoots.

You can go to the YSL museum for around £4, where you can see inside his famous house and look at some memorabilia.

This is a major tourist hot spot – so it’s probably best to go early in the morning to avoid queuing outside in the heat.

If you can’t make it to Majorelle gardens, the Cyber Park is also worth a visit. This is in the centre of Marrakech, just by Jemaa el-Fnaa.

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thelunarbabe

I'm 26, from Manchester. PR girl, blogger. Writing about anything that crosses my mind. Opinions always welcome.

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